As a small business owner, you’ve probably heard that you need a trademark attorney on your team, but you may not have been told how exactly to choose a trademark attorney.
Aren’t all lawyers created the same? The truth is – they are not. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you choose an attorney:
- Problem Solver – You should look for a lawyer that is a deal-maker…not a deal breaker. This means they work to solve problems instead of simply identifying problems. Anyone can point out an issue. Not anyone can find a viable way to solve a problem.
- Speaks Plain English – Some lawyers hide behind “legalese” to impress their clients. The only problem with this is that you may not get the full benefit of their advice because you didn’t really understand what they were telling you. Make sure your attorney speaks to you in plain english and doesn’t get frustrated when you ask them questions. This will ensure that you get maximum value out of their legal counsel and guidance.
- Flat Fee Billing – Which would you prefer. Infinite bills based on mathematical increments that you can’t predict? Or a flat fee that includes the entire legal service that you can pay and know that you’ll never have to pay for the same work again. Your lawyer should have enough experience in their practice areas to be able to accurately know how long it will take them to handle something and give you a flat rate to do it. Otherwise, you may be paying for their inefficiency.
- No Hidden Fees – All of the fees should be disclosed up front. This allows you to budget and know exactly what you are paying for.
- Availability for Questions – Ever met with someone and thought you had all of your questions answered but then you thought of a new one once you were in the car? You should hire a lawyer that doesn’t start a timer every time you call with a simple question. Instead, choose a firm that doesn’t bill you simply for answering your phone call. Preferably, choose a lawyer that has a client management system like ours that allows our clients to message their attorney 24/7 or have the option to schedule a phone conference to discuss their question – all included within their flat fee.
- Affordable – Make sure the legal services are affordable. You shouldn’t feel like you have to have an entire year’s worth of clients just to be able to pay your lawyer’s fees. Find a firm that uses technology as a means of saving you money so that you can keep more of your money in your own pocket.
- Free consultations – Some lawyers charge just to hear your legal situation and give you a quote. Find a law firm that offers free initial consultations. This means the lawyer will listen to your problem and explain how they would solve it and exactly how much it will cost you – up front before you are ever charged.
- Relationship – You want a lawyer that is willing to put their relationship with their clients first. This means that if something isn’t in your best interests, the attorney shouldn’t just string you along for the sake of making a quick dollar. Instead, they should care about the long-term relationships to the point where they’re willing to advise you against hiring them for services that wouldn’t be in your best interests.
- Industry Experience – Your lawyer should have real life industry experience – not just academic credentials from law school. It helps if they have had hands on experience handling the type of matter that you are hiring them for.
- Passion – It makes a difference when people are excited about what they do – versus showing up at work just to get a paycheck. Find a lawyer that is passionate about business and helping people grow their businesses. This will make a difference when it comes to the level and quality of service you receive.
- Positive Reputation – Some law firms have plenty of disgruntled past clients. Find a firm that is proud of their reputation and clients that are willing to share how much they enjoyed working with them.
- Privacy & Confidentiality – Discretion matters. Make sure the firm is committed to taking every precaution to protect your confidential and sensitive information. Don’t just assume this is taking place. Find a firm whose attorneys have been required to pass a background check, character and fitness test, and have been fingerprinted. It helps if they have encrypted servers and technology like ours that will make sure that your sensitive information is protected.
- Gives Back – When you hire an attorney, you should be doing more than just supporting their family. Find a law firm that values giving back to the community and takes it seriously. Make sure they are the official sponsors of at least one charity (we’re proud to sponsor Revolution Leadership, a nonprofit that provides educational leadership programming and awards scholarships to over 1,500 students) and that they require that their attorneys serve on nonprofit boards and actively volunteer.
Keep these considerations in mind the next time you’re considering adding a trademark attorney to your team.
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